Sept. 14 (UPI) — An Iowa teenager who pleaded guilty in the fatal stabbing of her alleged rapist received a probation sentence instead of prison time and could escape having a felony record.
Pieper Lewis was sentenced to five years probation and a deferred judgment after killing a man who allegedly paid to have sex with her and raped her.
Lewis also must serve 1,200 hours of community service, stay at a women’s center while she is on probation, and provide $150,000 in compensation for the death of her victim, Zachary Brooks.
“Well, Ms. Lewis, this was the second chance you asked for. You don’t get a third. Do you understand that?” Polk County District Judge David M. Porter said, according to the Des Moines Register.
Lewis, 17, and her attorneys argued that she was a sex trafficking victim who was manipulated by a 28-year-old man whom she lived with at the time.
Lewis was sleeping in a hallway when she met the man, who was a small-time musician. The man allegedly would list Lewis on dating websites and have men pay to have sex with her.
On May 31, 2020, the day before the killing, Lewis said that the musician threatened her at knifepoint to force her to go to Brooks’ apartment to have sex with him.
“I did not want to have sex with Mr. Brooks,” Lewis said in her plea. “I did not want to go to Mr. Brooks’ apartment, but I had no other place to go.”
While at his apartment, Lewis said she fell asleep and when she woke up, Brooks was raping her. Afterward, Brooks fell asleep and while Lewis was gathering her clothes, she saw the knife.
“I suddenly realized that Mr. Brooks had raped me yet again and (I) was overcome with rage,” Lewis wrote in her plea.
After the killing, Lewis fled but was arrested the next day.
Lewis’s attorneys said they were stunned by the judge’s decision, expecting it to be harsher.
“I assumed the worst,” Matthew Sheeley said Tuesday. “As attorneys, we always want the best for our clients, but as attorneys, you’re always prepared for the worst-case scenario.”